February 23, 2024

With all the negative news we hear on the radio and see on TV and social media these days, such as killings, corruption, violence against women and children and any vulnerable person, we cannot help but curse the perpetrators, the violators, and the obvious bad guys.
We are forgetting there are other characters who can possibly be of equal footing when it comes to accountability – they are the silent perpetrators.
This thought came to my mind after coming across the quotation, “Evil prospers when good men do nothing”.
A lot of times, we think that we are better than others because we do not commit the obvious evil acts. We avoid people who we think are immoral, wicked, not so smart people because we might be “contaminated” by their behavior.
We evade turbulent situations with the fear of being implicated or simply because we do not want our peaceful and quiet life to be disturbed. Thus, when we witness abuse, corruption, injustice, bullying and other unfair treatment to voiceless people, we feel sorry for the victims and just hope that these things are not happening to them; then we simply close our eyes and walk away even if you know that you can do something.
But the harm has been done. We feel safe in our own security blanket, while some innocent people suffer from the hands of atrocious people. We sleep soundly and peacefully with that sight in mind. In this case, are we not part of the cause of suffering.
The story of the Good Samaritan in the bible can mirror this situation. When I was younger, my father used to tell me that as a Christian, I have a great responsibility in helping people straighten their crooked paths.
Every time I share to him that I witnessed my classmates cheating or heard my friends spreading rumors about another friend, he would tell me, “Try to talk to them in a nice way. Remind them that these are bad acts; if they do not listen, it’s okay. At least for you, you did your part as a caring friend.”
These words are making sense to me now in a bigger picture. But sometimes, whether in our family, in our workplace, or in our community, our Christian responsibility of taking good care of one another is always compromised because of our own fear of being involved, fear of staining our reputation, fear of losing our position, fear of losing our name. Can we be called “good” when right before our eyes we allow evil to prosper despite the fact that we are endowed with the power to stop it?
Perhaps this is a lesson which the classic and modern heroes can teach us. They did what they had to do to free people from bondage. If they did not have the courage to stand for others, what kind of place are we supposed to be living in now? Andres Bonifacio fought with his sword, Jose Rizal fought with his pen, our pandemic heroes fought with their caring heart, and many others used their brains to discover solutions to social problems. Indeed, we are enjoying all the fruits of their heroic and good deeds.
Perhaps we cannot do as much as what they can do, but many advocates of justice and peace say we do not need to literally die for others, or hold a gun to fight, to rage war with others to become heroes and good people. As parents, we can contribute to a healthy society by raising our children well and become responsible members of the community in the future.
As traffic enforcers, by faithfully doing our job while on duty contributes to a smooth flow of traffic. Street sweepers keeping the roads clear of any obstruction contribute to the safety of all passers-by.
As leaders, simply sharing a bright idea to solve a problem before illogical and uninformed minds rule and devour vulnerable minds in the group means a lot.
As a worker, stepping up and reminding scheming colleagues of proper protocols and standard operating procedures is something.
In your own small community, what can you do to be part of a solution or better say, to be part of a preventive measure before a problem occurs?